The needler in the haystack.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jerry and Plainfield cable subscribers. What's wrong with this picture?

What's wrong with this picture?
Plainfield 'cable' subscribers appear about to get the shock of their lives, if a bill passed by the Assembly yesterday is also OK'ed by the Senate, as seems likely.

And what have you heard from Assemblyman Jerry Green about this? Nada.

I say 'cable' in quote marks because the bill will impact not only traditional COMCAST cable subscribers, but also VERIZON customers, as well as LANDLINE PHONE COMPANY customers (see NJ Spotlight coverage here, and Ledger coverage here).

The bill, which passed the Assembly 66-7 with 4 abstentions and three not present, will relieve Plainfield and NJ subscribers of the following consumer protections --

  • OUTAGES: Credit to consumers for outages over four hours would be abolished;
  • BILLING ERRORS: Law requiring correction of billing errors is lifted;
  • DISCRIMINATION: Law ensuring against discrimination or refusal of service is lifted;
  • SLAMMING: The prohibition against switching a consumer's phone company without permission would be lifted;
  • RATES: Cable and phone companies would be free to raise rates on basic services at will (they must currently be approved by the BPU).
The state's Ratepayer Advocate, who opposes the legislation, holds that 3 million households with basic cable and 1.4 million with basic phone service (local area and emergency calls only) will be left to the tender mercies of the telecom companies (see here statement here, in PDF; and video of an NJN interview here).

And there's a special kicker for MUNICIPALITIES: telecom companies would no longer be MANDATED to provide PUBLIC ACCESS CHANNELS, such as our Comcast and Verizon ones, to local communities.

I don't know if Assemblyman Green voted FOR the measure (the roll call wasn't posted yet when I looked online; see the bill here). If he did, he owes his constituents a full explanation of his support for killing these consumer protections; if he didn't support the bill, why hasn't he been crowing from the rooftops?

Approval by the Senate is the last step to the stripping of these consumer protections.

Here is contact information for the 22nd District's legislative team --

  • Sen. Nick Scutari
    1514 E. Saint Georges Ave., 2nd Floor, Linden, NJ 07036
    Phone: (908) 587-0404
    Fax: (908) 587-9312

  • Assemblyman Jerry Green
    17 Watchung Ave., Plainfield, NJ 07060
    Phone: (908) 561-5757

  • Assemblywoman Linda Stender
    1801 East Second St., 2nd Floor, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076
    Phone: (908) 668-1900
    Fax: (908) 668-9962

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Bob said...

All of our fairly useless politicians need to explain themselves on this one. Why do people keep voting these losers in office? I wonder who get paid for this vote. Everyone except the voters who pay the bills!

Blackdog said...

What else is new?

Anonymous said...

Bill was supposed to be voted on Thursday, but is being held at this time. No word as to when the vote will take place.

Anonymous said...

"Slamming" is just indefensible. What justification is there for people's phone services to be changed without their permission? One can only wonder what advantage comes Bramnick's way, either directly or indirectly, for sponsoring this legislation (and I hope he doesn't respond by warning this commentator against defamation as he was wont to do from his seat on the Plainfield city council). Does he think this helps his constituents? Seems he has become an apt student of the ways of Jerry Green.

What is our local paper's coverage of this important legislation? Wouldn't we all like to read Bramnick's defense of his bill in the press? Even a report of the vote? Maybe then, more papers would be sold.

Anonymous said...

Mr Dan
I heard the police director gave out a huge plaque to an officer for getting 4 tons of paper shredded. REALLY?

Anonymous said...

Of course he got paid off what else is new, remember this is NJ where corrupt politicians are the rule and not the exception. They breed like rabbits to continuously feed off the taxpayer while enriching themselves at every opportunity. Your right we keep reelecting them so we deserve what we get. Wake up people and start taking back our lives and government from these corrupt crooks. Right now the only individual fighting the good fight is our governor even if we do not agree with everything he is doing. At least he is putting the taxpayer first.

Anonymous said...

Only in NJ! I just bought a set of HD rabbit ears for my tv at Radio Shack. $39.00 and guess what, my screen is clearer now than with the Direct TV signal. So what if I'm not getting all the cable channels, most of the shows are now available online at the channel or shows website. Saves me $169 a month!
And I didnt vote for either one of them! Did you??